I think QR codes are a great way to get started with digital tools in your teaching. They will lead directly to the page that you want your students to use without having them navigating through a lot of other links to get to the destination that you wanted to show them. The history of your activities is saved in the phone which allows students to return to the page or assignment after class.
What's a QR-code?
In order to understand what a QR code is, you can think of Braille writing that is used for people who are visually impaired. Braille is built up by small dots that mark different letters and together they form sentences. The QR-codes are made the same way. They usually contain a link that makes a website appear when you scan the code, but technically they might a message in which someone just typed "Hello! I'll be home at 5". One could say that the dots of the QR-codes form a separate language that is created to fit long sentences in a small area. It takes two things for QR-codes to work. The first is that anyone who wants to create them needs a service that converts text into the QR-language. The second is that anyone who wants to use them has installed an app that converts the QR-code back to text. Personally, I always use "QR code Monkey" to create QR codes and "QR code readers" to scan them on my phone.
How to create a QR-code
There are several services on the internet that offer free QR-codes and there is no huge difference to them, but I've come to get hooked on one called "QR-code Monkey". What I like is that it's easy to make nice looking QR-codes and not just ugly black ones.
You can find QR-code Monkey here!
At the top row, you will find "enter ulr". The "url" thing is just a nicer word for "link" and so you paste your link into the frame. When that's done, you may continue and click the other menus to select the colour and shape of your code. You may even upload a small image that should be in the middle of the code. Just be sure to choose a shape on the code that doesn't have dots in the middle so that no important information (no important letters!) become hidden by your beautiful picture! QR-code Monkey has many photos that you can choose from right away, such as a Facebook logo if your link should lead to a group on Facebook!
When you're done with colour selection and shape, click "create QR code" and you'll see how the image pops up on the right. Press "download png" to download to your computer. When your QR-code is down, it comes in a format called png and most other programs can read it without any problems! This allows you to paste your code into, for example, a Word document and treat it like any other image. Just be sure never to change the proportions of the picture! You may make it bigger or smaller, but you must not accidentally make it longer nor narrower because since it will lose readability if you do.
Just how small you can make your picture depends mostly on how you intended to print it. A standard home printer isn't accurate enough to write really small dots, but a commercial printer has better equipment and can handle smaller formats. As a benchmark, I usually think that I won't make the codes smaller than 10*10 cm. At that size, the small codes are tiny and neat and there are usually no problems for anyone to read them.
How to read a QR-code
In order to read a QR code, you need an app in your phone that can decode all the different dots and make readably text out of them. I use an app called "QR code reader". It works great and is free! When to read the code, just open the app and hold the phone in front of the QR-code. <em>Do not click anything!</em> The phone will now spend a few seconds finding and reading the image and then it will reveal what was hiding in the picture. You'll then get the question if you want to open the link and of course you want that! One advantage of this app is that at the top there is a tab called "history" and that allows you to go back to things you scanned earlier and open them again! The history-tab is like automatic bookmarks.
Good luck with your creation of stylish QR codes!
I am the technician who became a librarian, but who got tired of the quiet and peaceful life at the library and started working as a teacher. I brought with me everything I knew about databases, information retrieval and networks and soon I was an ICT-educator. Today, I work as a teacher at Komvux in Norrköping.
I have always had a nerdy great interest in technology. I can find interest in everything from robots to model railroads or the steel industry of the industrial revolution. Technology should take us forward and prevent us from everything boring. You need to dare to be somewhat lazy and ask yourself if there is no easier way to get something done. The human desire to get away is what has driven the technical development and find time for other things. Like model railroads, for instance!
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